The Marginalian
The Marginalian

An Odyssey Through Asian Art & Art History

Dust off your passport. We’re heading to Asia and starting a guided tour of the continent’s rich artistic heritage.

Available for free on iTunesU, Passport to Asia: An Odyssey Through Asian Art & Art History features 25 lectures by prominent art historians. The lectures, all recorded in video, survey a wide swath of territory, moving from China and Japan, to Afghanistan and Turkey, and then Bhutan and India. And they take a broad look at Asian art. Porcelain, paintings, sacred texts, temples, palaces — they’re all covered here.

During your visit, Richard Vinograd (Stanford University) will take you inside the The Forbidden City, which served as China’s imperial palace from the Ming Dynasty to the end of the Qing Dynasty; Catherine Asher (University of Minnesota) delves into the deep tradition of the Taj Mahal; Kurt Behrendt (Metropolitan Museum of Art) takes you back to the art of the Ancient Gandhara; and then Wu Hung (U. Chicago) brings you back to the future to discuss what’s happening in the Chinese contemporary art scene.

This lecture series was coordinated and presented by the Society for Asian Art, a non profit that supports the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The museum itself holds over 17,000 works spanning 6,000 years of history, making it one of the largest Asian art collections in the western world.

Dan Colman edits Open Culture, which brings you the best free educational media available on the web — free online courses, free audio books, free movies and more. By day, he directs the Continuing Studies Program at Stanford University, and you can also find him on Twitter.

Published May 31, 2010




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